Goodnight Seattle

The series finale that marked the end of the 11 year long fun ride that was this show - Frasier.

I've always had this habit of associating  television shows, movies, songs, books with a certain way they make me feel  - and when I think of Frasier, I think of the warm cozy apartment of Elliott Bay Towers and a strange calmness takes over me. I feel more at ease. That's why Frasier has become my go-to show for when I am  restless or anxious in life.

It was for the same reason I started re-watching the series last month and it worked - like grandma's home remedy. I was feeling less rushed and my thoughts were more structured. I devoured through the episodes till I got to the finale, which is when I noticed something for the first time.

In his farewell speech, Frasier talks of new beginnings, of taking risks...referring to his decision to move to a new city, and I couldn't help but feel the same restlessness seeping in, only this time it wasn't for myself, but for the character that I had grown to adore. I felt sad for him, scared of what might become of him, of how he might never actually experience the marital bliss that his younger brother was finally blessed with, or have the good fortune of spending his golden years amongst family and loved ones like his father.

I realized that I could never take such a leap unless life forced me to. I could never throw away the known, the familiar, the safe...for what countless possibilities were out there. Sure I would wonder, but I would  never have the courage to act.

Think of these two choices. You are well into your 60s and one quiet evening, seated on your favorite piece of furniture, sipping a hot cup of tea, you are reminiscing about the years that have gone by, all the summers, all the memories, all the people you met and you are smiling. Now would you like for those memories, happy as they are, to be like a few big blocks of events, monotonous at times but secured to a strong base, or would you like to see them as a million tiny blocks, all very eventful and thrilling but adrift in space and time ?

I'd rather pick the former and by that I mean, having the majority of one's memories about ONE place, or ONE person, having a glue to which your whole life is secured, instead of having a billion memories, each of a different person, or a different place.
This marks a big difference between the two brothers on this show as well - while Frasier had a new love interest every other episode (although always pursued with the utmost sincerity), Niles always moved from one long term relation to another, often fixating on making each of them last. What is to be noted is that they each end up with exactly what they had been working towards - Niles with a wife and a new born and Frasier with a brand new career in a brand new city - both happy with their share.

They stand for the same daunting choice every person has to make at some point in life - build upon existing memories or make new ones?

When it hits you

This Friday I went down to the Fort Canning park to watch the much awaited Merchant of Venice performed by the talented lot at the Singapore Repertory Theatre.

Aaaaaaa! Shakespeare!
People settling down with their mats and picnic baskets, it was super hot!
The case taking a bow. The play ended close to 11 pm.

It was a scintillating depiction of the classic play, with a great cast and a wonderful ambiance save for the excessively dry and sultry weather at the beginning of the queue-up. My friend and I reached the venue an hour before the show time, and had to wait outside the park gate for over 30 minutes along with thousands of other Shakespeare enthusiasts. Here's how the conversation went:

Friend: Gawd it's hot!
Me: I know! Wish you'd have sneaked some beer from your office..
Friend: Yeah, hope they're selling some inside. I wish I'd picked a different day, school night's always crowded 
Me: Oh well. Look at them, taking selfies, posing like idiots, then they'll rush to upload it somewhere and go, 'look at me! I'm so classy and popular' It's such a wannabe age
Friend: Hahah yeah I can't remember when I was that age..I mean we're only 23 so technically it hasn't been that long 
Me: Right..but it's so true like as you grow older, the younger lot starts to look more and more lame
Friend: And you wanna say to them, "prance around all you want now! but wait till you start working for that cash.."
Me: Haha! we sound like an old grumpy couple
Friend: Hey! I'm sure I'm younger than a lot of people here *looks around miserably 
Me: Well at least one of them  *points to a balding head in the distance
Friend: *groan

It's such a vague transition to the other side of the line. From the insecure rebellious dissatisfied teenage to the more stable and self-assuring young adulthood. Suffice to say, there never was a more varied journey than life. 

Getting back on the blogging track

Apologies for a rather long hiatus! Turns out leaving facebook drew me away from a lot of social media altogether. It still serves as a most delightful vacuum, but I figured it's time I reignite my love of writing and return to the blogging world. 

This morning I read my last post and realized how far back in time it was. I had yet to sit for my final university exams, or secure a job. I was confused, anxious, eager to get away from the student life and start earning. Now, a little over a year later, I'm sitting at my desk at work. 20 min to go before the lunch break gets over and it dawns on me how much life has changed. 

I'd say the transition from being a student to a full-time working adult was gratifying. Moving out of the dorm, renting out my own place, managing all the bills, finances, buying groceries, repairing a leaky faucet, moving on from a hundred first dates to a stable relationship..shit got real!

Let's see if I'm able to chronicle some of the best/worst moments from the past year and years to come, but rest assured, it feels great to be back!

So…I guess I quit Facebook

I've been meaning to take this step ever since the beginning of this year. My reasons to go on being a part of this unavailing parade?  Friends, Family, Professional connections, Social circles and the general need to "stay in the loop".

It's no hidden truth that Facebook has swept over the entire world like a giant wave of consumerism, marketing and social media. It's easy to be a part of it because it's free. But you know what they say "If you're not paying for it, then you're not the customer; You're the product being sold."

The question I most deal with these days is why I took this step. Some of my friends (including my mom) thought that something had "happened". I'm writing this post to clear the air and try to explain myself.

The thought crossed my mind last week. I pictured how it would be like if I left Facebook. It was random, like a fleeting thought that often crosses a weary mind. I wondered, what if something wonderful happens, what if I decide to take a trip around the world, what if I meet a celebrity, what if really good things start happening; how am I gonna share all that, where will I put all those pictures, all those memories, how will I show-off? How will my 1000+ friends get to know what's going on in my life? I laughed at my haughtiness and brush those thoughts aside.

Yesterday, however, I wasn't thinking. I logged into Facebook first thing in the morning and disabled my account. Maybe it was easier because I wasn't thinking. I was just consumed by this overwhelming urge to quit the site. Once safe out of its reach, I gathered my thoughts.

Being friends on Facebook doesn't mean a thing in real life. There were people I was friends with online, whom I never speak with otherwise. It was ridiculous.

Secondly, it makes it way too easy for people to contact each other. If you wanna see a friend, you get off your ass and walk up to where they are, or at least pick up your damn phone and give them a call. Facebook has literally reduced the sense of friendship to a bunch of digital signals. Instead of bridging the gaps, it has only created more walls.

There was a girl in one of my classes this semester, whom I saw once a week. We would always sit together, talk about our lives and share a chuckle or two over the jokes that our professor cracked. She was not on Facebook. So I couldn't add her. The first time this hit me, I felt sad that I won't be able to keep in touch with someone I connected so well with. But then we would talk over the phone and hang-out after our class. I would actually look forward to Mondays when I would get to see my friend. It was a different kind of thrill. And rest assured, I felt closer to her than most of my other close friends who're too cool to step off Facebook and spend time in person.

The truth is, your real friends will always find you. They'll always know what's on your mind. Not because they saw it on their news-feed but because they care enough to actually ask you. They don't need to be reminded that it's your b'day or that they need to wish you new years. They'll always remember.

Funny thing is I joined Facebook almost 4 years back, right before I started my university life; and I quit now when I am mere weeks away from graduating. It's like the end of an era. I wont be completely starving myself technology-wise though; there're always ways to telecommunicate with your loved ones. All I want now is to focus on living my life, rather than sharing it.

Perfection is an illusion

There's a lesson I learnt very recently, from a most unexpected source - video games.

Craig Benzine or better known as WheezyWaiter has never failed to amuse me. While surfing his YouTube channel last week, I stumbled upon a playlist of him playing Dark Souls. A few videos down and I felt that old gamer in me shift a little. I used to play a lot of video games back in high school and then completely stopped after joining university. Well needless to say, I revisited an old steam account, and downloaded the first game I saw in my library: The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I started playing this morning, which went by quicker than I could realize.

I've always been a cautious player, you know the kind who has one eye on the game and the other switching  between the scores and the health/power/strength levels, one who never lets an unopened chest or an unvisited room go by, one who needs to find all the keys, all the treasure, the kind obsessed with perfect scores! I must admit it's hard to enjoy the game, once your attention's split between all the rest.

There was a simple task I was facing in the game. I was supposed to pick a lock in order to open this chest. It required perfect timing. I was still learning how to do this, so I missed the first few times, but even as I was gaining on the confidence and knowledge, I was losing on the number of attempts I could make, and eventually, I had to pass the chest and move on. I found myself thinking of that chest for the next 20 minutes or so, I felt I couldn't move on until I knew what's in it. I even considered starting the game all over again, just so I could get another shot at it.

Then I remembered.

Having watched Craig play for so long, I suddenly remembered his style. He would focus on only one thing: moving on in the game. I would see him miss so many instructions and items on his way (and I would cringe a little) but he would somehow always make up for them later. He would never get stuck. He would go around smashing stuff, figuring things out along the way, making mistakes, learning from them, and never stop having fun!

There is a lesson to this, don't you think? It reflects a way of life. Unlike in video games, you cannot restart your life, there's no point worrying over the opportunities you missed or the mistakes you made. There's always gonna be a way to make up for them later. There's no going back so you might as well focus on moving forward and enjoying the game for what it's worth.

I'm gonna forget about that chest and move on.